In my previous post, I talked about making a beer for Arbor Brewing Company’s competition, RatFest. Well the day have come and gone, the beer was served, and sadly we did not win any awards for it, but that’s OK! The festival itself was a great time with many good and plenty of interesting beers available, including a guacamole saison, a funky beets sour, and another beer (ultimately the winner of the day) that also used wine grapes – though it used concentrate and not crushed grapes as we did.
Despite a lack of physical awards for the beer, we were given many compliments and I had many good conversations with brewers and beer lovers about the makeup of the beer. Ultimately I think we may have lost to a lack of marketing, as the group that won the day in most categories also had a great 70’s booth theme that was very well executed. When it comes down to a popularity vote, memorability matters! Having good beer doesn’t hurt either, I guess, so congrats to Burns Park Brewers for their RatFest success.
On to Ye Olde Vineale and what it was like. Having used three strains of Brett, its Brettiness did not disappoint; some of the brewery staff even went as far as to describe it as “challenging” it was so funky. I happen to disagree and have had far funkier beers, but there was a good hit of horse blanket right up front in the aroma, so I can see where they are coming from. The desired vinous quality was right up front in the flavour, blending into a malty-funk back end with no bitterness or astringency. We were actually a little concerned with astringency as we’d left the grapes in there for three months, but those fears were unfounded in the end. The only knock I have against the beer is a hint of THP on the aftertaste, though it’s not as prominent as times I have experienced it.
Overall this is a beer I thoroughly enjoyed and plan to make it at home again in the future, maybe this fall when the grape harvests are in. I’ll probably split batch it and clean ferment half without Brett or grapes to see how the base old ale stands up by itself. I’m undecided yet if I’ll clean ferment the whole thing, then split half to grapes and Brett, or split in primary. I’m sure I’ll write an update on that when it happens.